• Building community interaction in three post industrial and multi-ethnic Northern 'cities': Perspectives from Bradford, Burnley and Oldham on five years of learning following the 2001 disturbances.

      Pearson, Martin (International Centre for Participation Studies., 2007)
      This report is a summary of the views of a range of practitioners working in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham on the challenges of building community interaction in these three northern `cities¿ which experienced disturbances in 2001. Practitioners from a variety of professional backgrounds from each of the locations met in Burnley on January 12th 2007 to reflect together on the key challenges that they had faced since 2001 and the progress, or lack thereof, that has been made. Their observations were recorded and form the basis of this report. Despite the significant differences between the `cities¿ in their size, location and demographics, practitioners from the three locations seemed to broadly share the analysis of the progress made and of the threats to progress since the disturbances in 2001. Information-sharing between organizations in the `cities¿ has improved. Some organizations are able to move more quickly to reduce/prevent tensions building. More young women, particularly young Muslim women, are becoming involved at a community level bringing new perspectives and ways of thinking. Yet practitioners also identified a variety of conditions which continued to make the `cities¿ vulnerable to fresh disturbances in the future. Perhaps chief among these was the concern over the high levels of discontent expressed by young people in each of the locations. The relatively low levels of educational attainment and engagement, high levels of crime which young people can get `sucked into¿ and the low level of mixing between young people from different ethnic groupings were all seen as underlying factors which could lead to fresh disturbances. Added to this were serious concerns about the levels of racism in each of the `cities¿, a lack of equal opportunities and the pressures on particular communities from the press and the police. One participant articulated the basic question running throughout the practitioners¿ discussions, ¿We are probably ready to deal with the 2001 disturbances now, but are we ready for 2007?"